Jury retires in TV Comic trial

Justin Lee Collins leaving St Albans Crown Court on Friday Photo: PA

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of television presenter Justin Lee Collins. He is accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend Anna Larke from Hitchin.

The trial at St Albans Crown Court has lasted ten days. The panel of nine women and three men will now begin its deliberations regarding allegations that Mr Collins subjected Ms Larke to domestic and emotional abuse.

The court heard claims during the case that the 38 year old ex-comic, who made a name for himself with Channel 4's The Friday Night Project, made Ms Larke, a recovering alcoholic, write down all her previous sexual encounters regardless of how graphic.

Mr Collins denies the charge of harassment and said Ms Larke, who moved in with him in January 2011, was obsessive, jealous and possessive and would send him a "barrage" of text messages wanting to know where he was and who he was with.

He also denies attacking her in any way.

Mr Collins and Ms Larke met at a corporate event in 2006 and began an affair in 2007 to 2008 before splitting up.

The relationship resumed at the end of 2010 after the defendant's marriage to his wife Karen, the mother of his sons Archie, seven, and Harvey, four, broke down.

The former comedian and Ms Larke, also 38, lived together from January to July last year in a deeply troubled relationship as she tried to overcome alcoholism, the court has heard.

Collins is accused of making her come off social networking websites, sleep facing him and throw away DVDs because they featured actors she found attractive.

He has denied all those claims and also denied making death threats against her.

Collins said the seven-month relationship with Ms Larke was "absolute hell".

"I thought she loved me and was crazy about me," he said. "But it turned out only the second part was true."